Latest Stories

New orchestra on the block–with a difference


9PO HAS a core of 13musicians.

9PO is the new orchestra in town. The group is an affiliate group of 9 Works Theatrical and “was formed to cater to the growing demand for professional musicians,” says conductor Joseph Tolentino.

“The ‘P’ stands for philharmonic, pit and pop—representing what 9PO is capable of servicing in terms of orchestral demand,” he pointed out.

“Traditionally, a philharmonic orchestra consists of an ensemble with a large number of musicians. Usually the repertoire consists of mainly classical pieces.

“A pop orchestra’s repertoire caters toward the general public outside of the classical realm, such as show tunes, popular movie themes, etc.

“A pit orchestra is an accompanying orchestra for works that require orchestral accompaniment. An example of such works would be musicals, ballets and operas. This was how 9PO started.”

Daunting task


Tolentino had been a musician in several 9 Works productions and was eventually tasked to be the musical director of the 2011 musical “Sweet Charity.”

“I was required to form a group just for the show. At first it was daunting. It was hard to find musicians and to get them to work together as one, rather than a premade ensemble where the musicians have played together for years,” he recalled.

They managed to get things off the ground during the show’s run.

“We realized that we had stumbled on something special and decided to turn the Sweet Charity Band into a resident orchestra for 9 Works Theatrical,” said Tolentino.

The new group had its debut as a pit orchestra for 9 Works’ “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” last year.

Born in Manila and raised in New York, Tolentino studied at the Fiorello LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the school featured in the 1980 movie “Fame” and its 2009 remake.

“Both movies are obviously a bit more over-the-top in some aspects, like the students dancing on tables,” he said, laughing. “This famous highlight from the movie did not happen in real life. At least, not while I was there. If it did, I probably missed all the fun.”

Award from Clinton


Tolentino said he joined as many ensembles as his schedule could permit. Aside from the orchestras in LaGuardia, he was a member of at least four other orchestras, and even performed a few times along with the New York Pops—the only symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular American music.

Tolentino graduated with high honors and received the Presidential Music Award accorded by former US President Bill Clinton.

“It’s hanging in my living room above my piano,” he said.

After graduation, Tolentino said he “wanted something different and chose the farthest place from New York I could think of: the Philippines.”

He had originally planned to complete his music degree (major in Piano under Raul Sunico) at University of Santo Tomas’ Conservatory of Music and return to New York.

JOSEPH Tolentino

“But things changed, as I began to enjoy living here,” he said. “The people I met here, including new ‘families’ such as 9 Works, sealed my decision to live here for good.”

Unique trait

Tolentino also took time to observe a unique trait among Filipino musicians. “The one thing I admire the most about [them] is their love and passion for their music,” he said. “In the US, there are many opportunities for musicians to develop their skills and talent at a young age, something many musicians here wished they had when they were children. However, this does not hinder their spirit.”

For now, Tolentino will be busy handling 9PO’s core of 13 musicians. “However, we have a roster of dozens of musicians we may call upon, depending on what the performance will require,” he said.

The orchestra is composed of professional musicians “all trained in the fields of classical, modern and contemporary or popular music, from the sonorous tones of the acoustic to the high-energy flavors of the electric. We can do classical, big-band, acoustic and Latin music,” he added.

Tolentino said he would also “oversee the different services that 9PO will be providing clients—from professional productions and corporate events to private functions like weddings, debuts and parties, even pit work for other theater productions, anything that helps contribute to the theater industry.”

He related that 9PO could also provide musical composition and arrangement services. “We can rearrange existing songs and music or come up with original pieces to suit our clients’ needs.”

9PO will provide music for 9 Works Theatrical’s summer acting-workshop recitals in May and for its production of “Grease” in November.

For inquiries on 9PO and more information about 9 Works’ summer acting workshops for kids, preteens, teens and adults starting April 8, call tel. 5575860, 5867105 or 0917-55405560, or e-mail info@9workstheatrical.com.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: 9PO , Lifestyle , Music

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  3. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  4. Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  5. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  6. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  7. A tale of two Priscillas: my mother Prissy and Chona Recto Kasten
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  1. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  4. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  7. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  8. Prince William fuels speculation of second royal baby
  9. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  10. This is not just a farm
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Healing priest invites political leaders to join ‘prayer for nation’
  • Tagle: Christ’s resurrection a message of hope to faithful
  • Aquino vows to intensify anti-corruption drive further
  • Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  • Nepal calls off search for missing guides on Everest—official
  • Sports

  • Rain or Shine grabs No.4, sends Ginebra to 8th
  • Red-hot Alaska rips injury-depleted San Mig Coffee
  • Pacquiao courtesy call to Aquino set for Monday
  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Lifestyle

  • Angono petroglyphs in danger of disappearing
  • Britain’s baby Prince George visits Australian zoo
  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Supper power
  • Condo unit sales boosted Shang Properties earnings
  • ERC mulls over WESM price cap for May, June
  • Whatever happened to the ubiquitous pagers?
  • Huge 2013 net profits seen difficult to surpass in 2014
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Aquino, Obama to tackle US pivot to Asia during state visit
  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats